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The Man from God Knows Where

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Album Review

Tom Russell had been releasing great records for about 25 years by the time he issued this album, but he outdoes himself here. Eight years in the making, The Man from God Knows Where is a song cycle inspired by America's pioneers and, particularly, Russell's own immigrant ancestors; but it probably comes at least as much from the artist's imagination as from historical fact. Be that as it may, he does a terrific job of conjuring up the hard realities faced by America's early immigrants. The performances, meanwhile, are even more adventurous than you've come to expect from Russell. Featuring guest spots by Iris DeMent, Dave Van Ronk and others, the album mixes music of the American West with that of Ireland and Norway and, somehow, it all holds together. A fine, fine collection.

Customer Reviews

A Favorite

Before the iPod people used to ask "if you could only have 10 albums on a deserted island, what would you bring?" This album would definitely be on that list. This album is a real work of art. I first picked it up because I heard the song "The Man from God Knows Where." It was not until I listened to the entire album that I realized this is not a collection of individual unrelated songs, but a collection of songs that tell a story- a folk opera, if you will. The lyrics are very well done, closer to what I would call libretto than lyrics. The listener gets to know Russell's Irish and Norwegian ancestors well, how his grandparents met, and their struggles while trying to settle this wild and untamed country. Some characters depend on religion to help them through the hard times, others depend on dreams, and still others depend on whisky. After listening to the album several times, I realized this is not just the story of Russell's family, but the story of all immigrants to this country. I would suggest purchasing the entire album, however, some really nice pieces are "The Man from God Knows Where", "The Dreamin'", "Acres of Corn", "Throwin' Horseshoes At the Moon", and "Love Abides". Enjoy

The best

If it's possible to wear the grooves off a CD then I've done it to this recording. It is simply my favorite recording.


Born: March 5, 1950 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Country

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Americana singer/songwriter Tom Russell was born in Los Angeles in 1950. Raised on the cowboy music of the American West, he grew up to be a talented songwriter, and began issuing albums under his own name in the early '70s. Russell's material, however, was also recorded by such luminaries as Johnny Cash, Guy Clark, and Dave Alvin, to name only a few. While much of Russell's work mined the country tradition, he was also known to flavor his work with Tex-Mex, folk, and the cowboy music of his youth....
Full Bio